You lucky people. You're about to experience the vicarious thrills of my last trip to North America. Hear every insult the kids throw at me, feel every blow the little bastards strike me with. And drink along with every beer, stuff down every plate of chips.
It'll take a while to get through the whole trip.
Our flight isn't until 14:35. But, knowing the chaos at Schiphol, we left home at 9:30. Just as well.
"That's a long queue for the car hire." Lexxie says when we enter the airport.
It isn't. It's the queue to get upstairs to departures. Great.
"At least it's the last queue we'll be in, kids."
It isn't. We get through the Sky Priority lane, but when we try to go to security, some jobsworth won't let the kids through. We have to queue with the plebs. At least we have plenty of time.
“At least we have plenty of time, kids.”
“That will make the waiting seem so much shorter.” Andrew replies.
“No need to be sarcy.” This bodes so well for the next two weeks. Will I get through them without strangling one of the bastards?
An hour, it takes. I've had worse. But mostly much, much better.
We haven’t checked any bags. On the news, I’ve seen the piles of bags all over the airport. I don’t trust them to get a bag on the plane. We’ve crammed everything into carry-on. At least Schiphol has free trollies. They lighten the burden of luggage.
After picking up a bottle of hotel whisky, we go directly to the lounge. With two hours until our flight. 49 euros it costs for a lounge pass for one of the kids. I’m still deciding which one.
"You need to eat and drink at least 50 euros worth of stuff. Otherwise, I've wasted my money."
“25 euros, surely? There are two of us.”
“And one was free. The other I paid 49 euros for. I haven’t which, yet.”
“That’s a bit mean.”
“That’s why I’m such a good dad.”
“In your dreams.”
My dreams are wonderfully child-free.
“That’s even meaner.”
“Did I . . .”
“Yes, you did say that out loud. Sponge Dad.”
“That wasn’t meant as a compliment.”
“Christ, you’re stupid.”
“Stop saying fucking thanks.”
“Can you just shut up?”
Lexxie accompanies me to the bar. A beer each for the kids. A Jim Beam and a Teachers for me.
It's wonderfully quiet in the lounge. Very relaxing after the chaos outside. We have several more drinks. And me and Lexxie have a little to eat. That's why I skipped breakfast at home.
“No point wasting my money when I get food here for free.”
“Don’t forget the whisky, Dad.”
“Do I look like I’m forgetting the whisky?”
Which prompts me to fetch another Jim Beam and a Teachers. I’d be a fool not to.
Andrew isn’t hungry.
“Eat something. You’re not getting your money’s worth.”
“I’m doing my best with drinks.”
“At least you’re trying.”
No problem getting Lexxie to eat. He fully explores the food options.
We get to the gate just in time to board. The flight is full. Mostly of Americans.
I have a window seat and get a good view of Greenland as we pass overhead. It's not very green. Mostly beige, with the odd thin white dash of ice.
Immigration is an absolute doddle. No queue and we're straight through. We don’t even have our fingerprints taken. I suppose since they’re still on file from previous visits.
Not having checked in any bags, before you know it, we're in a taxi bearing down on our hotel. Which is a former seminary in the middle of wood.
It’s a dead impressive place.
“It reminds me of the hotel in The Shining.” I told Lexxie after booking.
When we get there: “I see what you mean, Dad.”
Soon after checking in, we head for the nearby Stoup brewpub. Where I get an IPA and the kids a Pils. It's pretty quiet for a Saturday night.
“I wonder where everyone is?”
“Probably at home having a barbecue.”
Andrew is impressed by one of the beers on the menu: Belching Beaver Nitro Peanut Butter Milk Stout. It Sounds lovely" He says.
"It's never a good sign when they need that many words to describe what it is." I reply.
We have a few beers, but don't stay out very late. Which is in the middle of the night, Amsterdam time.
On the way back, we drop by a supermarket. The kids need beer for the hotel. Well, Andrew does. Bud Light is his choice. Only because they have no Pabst Blue Ribbon
A Tomintin nudges me gently down the road to sleep.
Stoup Brewing Kenmore
6704 NE 181st St,
Kenmore, WA 98028.